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Naive and Innocent in the Present Days, Tested the Limit of Censorship in the 50's
claudio_carvalho23 October 2006
In summertime in Manhattan, the plain and average Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) sends his wife and son for vacation in the country. Sherman is the key man of a publishing firm, Brady & Company, which publishes cheap pocket books. The faithful Sherman has a routine life with his family and dreams on being successful with women. When a beautiful and sexy blonde lodges the upstairs apartment of his small building, Sherman first opens the front door for her and then he invites her to have a drink with him after the fall of her tomato vase on his chair on the backyard. Along the days, he spends some time with the girl and feels tempted by her, but later he misses his family and travels to meet them.

"The Seven Year Itch" is a naive and innocent romantic comedy in accordance with the contemporary moral standards, but actually this feature tested the limits of censorship in a time when Hollywood was ruled by a rigid moral code. The story is based on a George Axelrod popular 1952 Broadway play about a man that has an affair with his upstairs neighbor. Unfortunately in the 50's, the American cinema did not have the same artistic freedom as theater. The screenplays and movies were submitted to the scrutiny of the powerful Hayes office, the censorship of Hollywood. There was a Production Code in Hollywood that stated that adultery should not be the subject of comedy or laughs, and this story violated the Code. Billy Wilder was fascinated by this story and purchased the rights of George Axelrod. However, to make the movie was a challenge for this great director, since many scenes and lines were ripped away by the censorship and by the National Legion of Decency, mutilating the plot.

Marilyn Monroe was selected to the cast, but Billy Wilder wanted a plain, average and non-handsome actor for the role of Sherman. His first choice was Walter Matthaus, but Fox direction did not want to take the risk of an unknown lead actor, therefore they selected Tom Ewell. The most famous scene of Marilyn Monroe, with her dress being lifted by the air of the subway, was first an exterior scene, but later Billy Wilder needed to shot again in the set because the noise and whistles of the viewers spoiled the original footage. This external scene also provoked the end of the marriage of Marilyn with Joe Dimaggio, who felt humiliated with the manifestation of the public.

One dialog that I particularly like is when Sherman and the blonde leave the movie theater and she says that the creature needed to be loved, in an analogy between Sherman and the creature of the black lagoon. The restored DVD is fantastic and this is the most sexually suggested role of Marilyn Monroe to date. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Pecado Mora ao Lado" ("The Sin Lives on the Next Door")
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So...? What's not to like?
masercot15 December 2004
Forget today's sex symbols...Marilyn is IT.

If Kate Moss moved into the flat above mine while my wife was out of town with the kids, I'd have no trouble resisting temptation; but, Marilyn Monroe is a force of nature. She's a fertility goddess. She is pure hourglass with a dynamite smile. In short, she is pure concentrated femininity.

This movie is a comedy, and a good one at that. The timing of Monroe and Ewell is flawless. The scene where he jumps Marilyn on the piano bench in a brief moment of passion causing them both to fall to the floor gives this brief exchange...

"I'm sorry", Ewell says, "This has never happened to me before"

Marilyn answers, while standing up and adjust her clothes, "That's funny. It happens to me all the time"...


The exchange between Ewell and a psychiatrist is equally well-done. The movie is a classic. It is Jack Lemmon's The Apartment, done with an attractive woman and a man who, although not in full possession of his marbles, certainly is better adjusted than Lemmon's character.

This is a must see...
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Marilyn at her most innocent
caspian19786 September 2002
In Some Like it Hot, Marilyn was the hottest she ever was. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she's the Woman of all Women. But in The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn is the prize of all treasures. She is timeless in every frame of the film. Coming across as this unique, cute, and innocent little woman, Marilyn makes your mind race, your heart thump, and your youth return.

No one else but Marilyn Monroe could play "The Girl" in the movie. She is just that, a girl, but much much more. Most of the physical comedy in the film is executed by Monroe herself. A lot of us don't realize this as we expect most of the comedy to come from the comedian in the film, Tom Ewell. A must see if you are a fan of America's first Dream Girl, the amazing Marilyn Monroe.
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A Fabulously Funny, Fast-Paced Sex Farce From The Fifties...It's "Just Elegant!"
Thurston Howell15 July 1999
The 1955 comedy, "The Seven Year Itch," directed by Billy Wilder, is one of the most amusing sex farces ever filmed. Starring Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe, and based on George Axelrod's play, the film takes a humorous look at the problems of a typical middle-aged married man. Tom Ewell, and unassuming leading man with a flair and talent for comedy, is perfectly cast in this movie. Ewell plays the part of Richard Sherman, an average middled-aged man of the 50' worker, city inhabitant, with a loving wife and one son. He is left alone in the city for the entire summer while his family vacations in Maine. All is well until Mr. Sherman meets the beautiful blonde who rents the apartment above his for the summer. They soon get to know each other and become friends over champagne, potato chips, and a Rachmaninoff record. Their friendship causes Mr. Sherman to worry that his wife will find out about his relationship with the blonde bombshell. With his overactive imagination, Mr. Sherman dreams up numerous situations concerning this young woman, as well as his wife. Although his imagination causes Mr. Sherman much worry, it provides many of the film's most memorable and enjoyable scenes. Of course, the film is famous for the scene of Monroe standing over the subway grate, which has always been a classic movie scene. Monroe, although unnamed in the film, gives one of her best screen performances, which is "just elegant," as she says throughout the movie. She displays a talent for comedy as well as beauty, which should not be overlooked. Ewell's portrayal of Richard Sherman is delightful, hilarious, and perfect. His facial expressions and comedic timing contribute to the film's enjoyability. Along with these stars, the supporting cast is excellent as well. It includes such character actors as Robert Strauss (Mr. Kruhulik, the janitor), and Donald MacBride (Mr. Brady, Richard Sherman's boss). "The Seven Year Itch" is one of the ultimate 50's pop culture films. And since it was filmed in Cinemascope, it would be perfect to see on the big screen. Any fan of Monroe, Wilder, old movies, or 50's culture would enjoy this movie; I strongly recommend it. The comedy, timing, acting, and direction are flawless...and they all help to make "The Seven Year Itch" "just elegant!"
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One of my new favorite romantic comedies
Smells_Like_Cheese15 September 2006
Lately, I have been really been getting into the classics, not to mention some new favorite actors. I always had wondered what the Marilyn Monroe movies were like. Because I always did love her in Some Like it Hot. She's not like today's actresses, she's not a stick, she looks so cute and like she has fun on screen. Not to mention she was a very beautiful actress.

The Seven Year Itch is a great romantic comedy where a man has sent his wife and son into the country while he works on his business over the summer. But after 7 years of marriage, he meets the new house sitter, played by Marilyn, and falls completely for her, causing a 7 year itch. He has also a wild imagination and just let's it go with him thinking he'll get caught, what if his wife is cheating on him, or what his life would be like if he was with Marilyn instead of his wife.

This is a very charming and lovable romantic comedy and will remain with that timeless image of Marilyn's white dress blowing up in the air. She's so adorable and anyone can easily become a fan of her's when they see this movie. It's a fun movie to watch and I highly recommend it.

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sparkling but a bit confusing!
didi-513 May 2004
The film succeeds mainly because of Marilyn Monroe's obvious charisma and appeal - she really shines in this as the dizzy, curvy blonde upstairs. Tom Ewell has been married seven years and has seen his wife and son away for the summer - he determines not to smoke, not to drink, and not to chase women. The moment Monroe wiggles up those stairs all that goes out of the window and he starts fantasising about the new arrival.

There are a lot of funny situations and you're never quite sure what it in Ewell's head and what is real (well, I wasn't anyway). I love the scene where they are playing Chopsticks and of course, that old chestnut the 2nd Rach concerto rears its head! Victor Moore plays a doddery plumber and Oscar Homolka a shrink who advises Ewell not to consider anything as drastic as murder until he can get simple problems sorted out, while Evelyn Keyes makes the most of her few appearances as Ewell's wife (or is she his conscience?!).

The film is fun, the famous skirt and grid scene is now legendary (but quite unlike the often-seen poster shot), and there is much in this bouncy production after nearly fifty years to entertain pretty much anyone.
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Marylin, feh, IT'S EWELL'S MOVIE!
possum-316 February 2004
All the comments about Marylin Monroe for this film miss the point--the whole film is about Tom Ewell's character's wild imaginations and absurd twists colored by his constant immersion in his job in the field of dime pulp novels. If this movie moves at all, it's because of Ewell's performance as the husband who has been completely domesticated except for his uncontrollable imagination. Monroe's 'characteristics' drive some of the plot, but Ewell's fantasies are getting out of control before she even enters the film. It's a wonderful peek into that largely unspoken-of psyche of the American family man.
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Marilyn in another Classic Comedy? I think that's just elegant!
Translucid2k46 May 2005
This is a decent comedy and I enjoyed it on the whole. I'll be honest and say and the only real reason and I took an interested in the film and watched it is Marilyn Monroe. I've been trying to watch as many as her films as possible lately, ever since a study of Photography at college found me researching the icon of the silver screen. The good news is for me is that there was plenty of Marilyn to enjoy in this classic comedy. I was pleased to find that she is supported by a good cast and a very funny script, and the film on the whole is a real winner. There were several laugh out loud moments for me, and considering my young age and the fact this is a film from the 1950's I would say that's something pretty impressive. For me, though, the reason the film was great has to be Ms. Monroe. She is just simply stunning and elegant in this movie (A word her character very much likes to use!). She really captures the audiences heart as "The Girl" and it's not hard to see why Tom Ewell's character fell for her obvious charms - she is just a sheer delight in the film.

A sequence which I found totally hilarious was that in which Ewell's character imagines a variety of heated liaisons with various women in his life - all of them supposedly throwing themselves at him. The way in which he and the "women" deliver the lines - in a classic dead-pan fashion had me almost crying with laughter. Really hilarious stuff. And that's not even mentioning the glorious skirt-over-subway scene. This is a film to watch and fall in love with. You'll really enjoy it if you like Marilyn, you want to laugh, you're looking for a warm movie to just relax to and you're interested in cinema history and classic Hollywood. A great film for so many people - rent it and enjoy!
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Magic on the screen: Monroe fights the New York heat and gives pleasure to Ewell…
Nazi_Fighter_David26 June 2007
In the 'fifties Hollywood created its biggest, best-loved and most powerful sex symbol of all—Marilyn Monroe…

Marilyn's appeal was, perhaps, in her weakness, in that revealing look of innocence and confidence, in her intense desire to be loved…

The 'seven year itch' points out the instinctive desire to be disloyal after seven years of matrimony, with a longing to satisfy one's sexual needs…

This amusing film was adapted from a Broadway play of the same name by George Axelrod, with Tom Ewell reprising his Broadway role, walking, worrying, and sweating…

Tom and Evelyn Kayes have been married for seven years… While he remains in Manhattan on business, Evelyn and their son Ricky (Butch Bernard) go off to Maine to escape the sweltering summer…

The apartment upstairs has been rented to a television blonde model (Marilyn Monroe). When she forgot her front door key, she had to ring Ewell's bell to let her into the building…

When Marilyn accidentally knocks a tomato plant onto Tom's terrace, the happily man invites the luscious young beauty downstairs for a drink, indulging in fantasies about taking her in his arms and kissing her 'very quickly and very hard'…

Marilyn comes in, explaining that she feels safe with married men... He makes a clumsy pass while they are at the piano but both fall off the seat… He stammers an apology, but she pretends it is nothing…

When Marilyn returns to her apartment, Tom envisions his wife having an affair in Maine with their big neighbor, Tom McKenzie (Sonny Tufts)… Then he sees himself lost between foolish fantasies of seduction, and terrible ideas of his wife capturing him in action… Finally he decides to put an end to his visions and asks Marilyn out to a movie...

On their way home, they stop on a subway…

As the trains go by underneath, Marilyn's skirts billow up…

It is so hot in the city she presumably loves the rush of air on her thighs…

Marilyn plays the scene in innocent delight… And Billy Wilder's shot shows a strapping blonde with a white skirt blown out like a spinnaker above her waist…

For this famous shot alone, the movie is a must see…
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Classic comedy by the great Billy Wilder with funny scenes , clever acting and amusement
ma-cortes2 May 2013
Legendary comedy masterpiece from filmmaker Billy Wilder and screenwriter George Axelrod that won various Golden Globe nominations . It packs a top-drawer duo protagonist , Marylyn Monroe and Tom Ewell , and a splendid secondary cast formed by a variety of notorious actors who make sympathetic interpretations . When his family , wife (Evelyn Keyes) and son , goes away for the summer, a so far faithful husband (Tom Ewell) is tempted by a beautiful neighbor (Marilyn Monroe) , a blonde model who moves upstairs . Understandably he gets itchy . Soon , the known but abortive relationship with his blond neighbor and his wolfish dreams coming to nothing in the face of her ingeniousness and his own ineptitude .

Rightly enjoyable and fun-filled , milestone comedy which neatly combines humor , mirth , entertaining situations and amusement . This noisy comedy is intelligently and pleasingly written to gives us lots of fun , laughters and smiles . This is the funniest comedy since laughter began , it is mordantly funny and todays considered a real classic movie . Billy Wilder kept the studio Twentieth Century Fox happy , the picture consistently made money and was hit at box office . Flawless comedy with a duo of sensational protagonists , including an unforgettable Marilyn who parades sexily at her best and more relaxed and enticing than ever , she tickles and tantalizes . Adding , of course , the funniest sequences of all being those in which Monroe's blown skirt and those in which Tom Ewell dreams as the great lover .Despite being one of the most iconic images in pop culture history, as well as one of the most recognizable photographs of Marilyn Monroe, the famous full-length image of Monroe standing with her dress being blown up never actually appears in the film ; the shot used in the film is only of her legs, cut with reaction shots, and never shown full-length. The hit of the show is undoubtedly for the fetching Marilyn Monroe who gives one of the best screen acting . Magnificent performance from Tom Ewell as an angst-ridden forty-years-old husband left alone while his spouse go off on holiday . Tom Ewell won the 1953 Tony Award for Actor in a Drama for "The Seven Year Itch" in the role of Richard Sherman, which he reprised in this film . Furthermore , an attractive support cast giving appealing interpretations such as Robert Strauss , Oscar Homolka , Carolyn Jones , Sonny Tuffs and Evelyn Keyes .

This sexy motion picture was very well directed by Billy Wilder who includes several punchlines . Billy was one of the best directors of history . In 1939 started the partnership with Charles Bracket on such movies as ¨Ninotchka¨ , ¨Ball of fire¨ , making their film debut as such with ¨Major and the minor¨ . ¨Sunset Boulevard¨ was their last picture together before they split up . Later on , Billy collaborated with another excellent screenwriter IAL Diamond . Both of them won an Academy Award for ¨Stalag 17¨ dealing with a POW camp starred by William Holden . After that , they wrote/produced/directed such classics as ¨Ace in the hole¨ , the touching romantic comedy ¨Sabrina¨ , the Hickcoktian courtroom puzzle game ¨Witness for the prosecution¨ and two movies with the great star Marilyn Monroe , the warmth ¨Seven year itch¨ and this ¨Some like hot¨. All of them include screenplays that sizzle with wit . But their biggest success and highpoint resulted to be the sour and fun ¨¨The apartment¨. Subsequently in the 60s and 70s , the duo fell headlong into the pit , they realized nice though unsuccessful movies as ¨Buddy buddy¨ ,¨Fedora¨ , ¨Front page¨ and ¨Secret life of Sherlock Holmes¨, though the agreeable ¨Avanti¨ slowed the decline . The team had almost disappeared beneath a wave of bad reviews and failures . ¨The seven year itch¨ rating : Above average , essential and indispensable watching ; extremely funny and riveting film and completely entertaining . It justly deserves its place among the best comedy ever made . One of the very funniest films of all time and to see and see again . It's the kind of movie where you know what's coming but , because the treatment , enjoy it all the same .
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A Dated "Sophisticated" Comedy
JamesHitchcock14 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Contains Spoilers

Hollywood's moral code in the fifties meant that sex comedies, in the sense that we would understand the term today, did not exist. `Sophisticated' comedies about divorce and adultery, with all the action taking place strictly offstage, were about as close as anyone ever got. This film is a typical example of that style of filmmaking. It is set in Manhattan during a summer heatwave. The leading male character, Richard Sherman, has sent his wife and son to escape to the cooler mountains of New England, but he himself has to remain in town, as July is a busy time at the publishing firm for which he works. The flat above his has been rented by an attractive young model, whose name we never actually learn. When Sherman meets her he spends most of his time in attempts to seduce her, interspersed with panic attacks at the thought of his wife finding out.

With its small cast of characters and action largely confined to a single flat, it clearly betrays its origins as a stage play. I have never seen the play on which it is based, but I was interested to learn that the play is actually more explicit in that the two main characters do have a sexual relationship. The theatre of this period was clearly more liberal about sexual matters than the cinema, in America at least. (In Britain the Lord Chamberlain's Office, which governed theatrical censorship, was quite as puritanical as its cinematic equivalent, the British Board of Film Censors). Despite this change of emphasis, the filmed version works well in its own right. Sherman becomes less a middle-aged lecher than a middle-aged fantasist. He fantasises about women, not because he wants to sleep with them (his fantasies generally end with him fighting the woman off amid protestations that he is a happily married man) but because his ego gets a boost from the thought that he is handsome, charming and irresistible. He pursues Marilyn Monroe's character not because he has any cause for dissatisfaction with his wife or any serious thoughts about divorce but because, approaching his fortieth birthday, he needs reassurance that he is still attractive to women.

Although Tom Ewell is witty and amusing as Sherman, it is Marilyn Monroe who steals the film (as she normally did). Now, this may seem like heresy to many, but Marilyn was not the most beautiful woman ever. She was not even the most beautiful actress of the fifties; several others such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor or Brigitte Bardot had more classically perfect features. What Monroe could do like no other actress of her time (and like very few who have come since) was to combine sex appeal with wide-eyed innocence. Her character in this movie is a fine example of this. Sherman falls for her precisely because she is not only pretty but also young and naïve; the sort of girl her can exercise his charms on without creating any real threat to his marriage. This is a film about flirtation, not about serious, long-term relationships, so it does not matter that the girl is the typical Hollywood `dumb blonde'. Monroe was perfect for the role; if virtually any other actress had been cast in it (including any of those mentioned above) the result would have been a very different film. There are also some amusing cameo roles from Oskar Homolka, as a Germanic psychiatrist, from Robert Strauss as the loud, pushy janitor and from Donald MacBride as Sherman's cynical boss.

Although the film must originally have seemed sophisticated and daring, fifty years later it is somewhat dated and now seems tame and lightweight. Even the famous scene where Marilyn Monroe stands above the subway grating is much less revealing than popular legend or the film's reputation might have you believe. When I say that a film is `dated', I do not necessarily mean that one cannot today watch it with pleasure, but rather that it is an example of an older style of filmmaking that it would not be possible to recreate today. (Indeed, a film of this type would probably have been impossible at any period after the mid-sixties). There is still much in `The Seven Year Itch' that is worth watching, but it no longer seems as fresh or as funny as it probably did when it was first released. It has not lasted as well as Monroe's other famous collaboration with Billy Wilder, `Some Like It Hot'. 6/10.
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A legendary scene, but little else to remember...
Enchorde9 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Recap: Richard Sherman has just sent his wife and kid away to the countryside, to let them escape an especially bad New York City heat wave. Sherman is left behind during the summer, having to work. But something else starts to occupy his mind, his new upstairs neighbor. It isn't just anyone, but a spectacularly beautiful young woman. A model to boot. Sherman starts flirting with her, but his guilty conscience is having the best of him. Should he or should he not act on the romance with the girl upstairs.

Comments: A rather unusual story where most of the story is played out in either Sherman's apartment or Sherman's imagination, as he obsesses if he should or shouldn't act on his impulses. But unusual and original as it is, it is not that funny that one could hope for. Legendary screenwriter and director Billy Wilder spearheads this movie and that promises a lot, and it doesn't live up to the expectations. There were a few outright laughs, it mostly made me smile a little. With Sherman's obsessing it almost gets a little brooding instead.

It does bear watching though, if nothing else for one famous scene where Marilyn Monroe steps out on the grating above the subway, and her dress blows up around her legs. It's fun to have seen the original seen that has been copied and parodied countless times since.

But at almost two hours running, it is not really good enough to really carry itself. Some small moments of good jokes but otherwise it was just rather long. If you want to watch a really funny Marilyn Monroe movie I recommend Some like it hot. Also directed by Wilder it is much better.

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Clever And Usual Script,
lesleyharris305 May 2013
The Seven Year Itch is a fantastic movie with a very clever story line and an extremely talented cast.Marilyn Monroe is fantastic in this movie,her performance is brilliant,and,like always she is beautiful.If anyone ever wondered where the famous picture of her dress blowing in the air comes from,this is the movie.The script to the movie is very unusual,I was expecting it to be a simple fifties movie,but it wasn't,a lot of dialogue between the characters is strange,and Richard should probably be put into a mental hospital.Fans of Marilyn Monroe and classic movies from this era of film will definitely enjoy The Seven Year Itch.

Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) makes an effort to dedicate his life to his business while his wife is away for the summer with their son,but an attractive new neighbor distracts him from doing what he promised.
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Delightful Comedy that Never Loses its Luster
l_rawjalaurence3 July 2016
Even after sixty years, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH retains its freshness and bounce - a delightful testament both to the script (by Billy Wilder and playwright George Axelrod) and the quality of the performances.

The story is a simple one: left on his own during a hot New York summer, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) tries his best to avoid the temptations of drink, tobacco and an extra-marital affair. However his best intentions are frustrated by the presence of The Girl (Marilyn Monroe), who has moved into the apartment above him. Nothing actually happens, but the promise persists ...

Ewell gives a stellar performance, the best in his forty-five year acting career. In his rumpled gray suit, with tie askew, he embarks on a series of monologues where his better nature competes with his carnal desires. Most of them are shot in single takes in the Shermans' apartment: Ewell's India-rubber face changes rapidly as he debates the morality of inviting The Girl down for a drink. He walks from side to side of the frame, his shoulders hunched, almost as if he is bearing the cares of the world on his back.

The fantasy-sequences are extremely funny, with Ewell imagining himself as the protagonist in a comic reworking of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, rolling about on the beach with a woman not his wife. Later on he casts himself as a Noel Coward-like figure speaking in a cod-British accent, as he plays Rachmaninov on the piano while trying to seduce The Girl (a reference to BRIEF ENCOUNTER).

When the latter scene is re-enacted for real, The Girl is completely uninterested in Rachmaninov. Sherman tries to embrace her, and the two of them end up falling off the piano bench in an ungainly heap. Although Sherman imagines himself as the Great Lover, he will never be able to fulfill his role.

Monroe is equally memorable in her role as the not-so-dumb blonde from Denver. It's clear she is attracted to Sherman - not because of his physical attributes, but because at heart he is an extremely sweet man. On the other hand she respects his love for his wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes), and thus refrains from making a pass at him. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH contains the memorable sequence where she stands over a grille and lets the wind from a subway train beneath blow up her white dress. Wilder shoots this sequence very discreetly, leaving everything to the viewer's imagination. Monroe is far more seductive in an interior sequence, where she hides behind a chair and stretches out one leg, and then another. The janitor Mr. Kruhulik (Robert Strauss) witnesses what happens, and promises to leave Sherman alone.

Wilder's and Axelrod's script fairly crackles with one-liners, as well as a series of in-jokes referring to Charles Lederer (Wilder's fellow-scriptwriter), as well as a reference to Monroe herself.

THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH is one of those comedies that never loses its sparkle, even after repeated viewings.
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A so-so comedy that's just not for me.
Jim Griffin23 April 2002
Something that irritates me about the IMBD is that if you criticise a movie that was made before 1980, a truckload of idiots send you messages telling you how much you hate old movies. Let me say right away, I don't. I like films from pretty much every era of cinema that I've had the chance to see, but, having had common sense recently installed, I've come to realise that age doesn't automatically make a movie great, just as modernity doesn't automatically make a movie bad.

So bearing in mind that I'm talking about this one movie, and not every movie made in the 1950s, The Seven Year Itch is as average as they come. The minimal plot sees Tom Ewell's `summer bachelor' trying to resist the charms of neighbour Marilyn Monroe while his wife and son are shipped off for the season. Very obviously adapted from a play, there are few characters, few sets, and even fewer laughs. That it succeeds at all is due to the charm of the leads and the occasional good joke that sneaks its way into the script.

The film's main problem comes in how it tells its story. First, it depends on Ewell constantly talking to himself, babbling on endlessly about what he's doing, what he might do, what he's never done, and what other people will think he's doing, done and about to do. Secondly, he is constantly daydreaming, the film constantly dissolving into one of his fantasies that are unfortunately no funnier than reality. If you find this storytelling approach irritating, as I did, the film's potential is lost immediately.

You'll no doubt be shocked to learn that in this film Marilyn Monroe is cast as a dumb blonde. Most people in the world seem to immediately pitch a trouser tent at the thought of Norma Jean, but I can't say I count myself among them. The problem with a dumb blonde is that she's dumb, so to find her attractive, you have to be attracted to stupidity. I'm not, so it doesn't matter how much she pouts, or how often we're treated to shots of her hourglass figure; she's as thick as a lobotomised footballer and therefore unattractive. She's basically got the personality and intelligence of a six year old, and, not being Gary Glitter, I can't say that appeals to me.

A comedy with few laughs, a sex symbol who doesn't float my boat, and a classic that just doesn't do it for me. I guess there's another bunch of snide messages coming my way.
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Seven was the lucky number for everyone involved in this movie!
lee_eisenberg11 July 2005
Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is having to stay home and continue going to work while his wife and son go on vacation. He then notices the young woman (Marilyn Monroe) living in the apartment above him. He realizes that he's probably been bitten by the seven year itch, where he gets interested in other women after seven years of marriage.

Obviously, everyone remembers the subway-grating scene. But there's much more to "The Seven Year Itch" than just that. It shows how, through his acquaintanceship with this young woman, Richard rediscovers a sense of strength in himself. Among other things, it goes to show (or rather, reaffirm) what a great director Billy Wilder was.
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Billy Wilder has done much better, but I don't care
Spleen13 July 1999
This is the movie responsible for the photo of Marilyn Monroe with her dress being lifted up by the blast from an air vent. I think this is a production photo - at any event I didn't see famous image anywhere in the air vent scene of the movie. But the photo sums things up pretty well. This film is about Marilyn Monroe being sexy. Actually, it's about Tom Ewell being tortured to the brink of insanity by Marilyn Monroe being sexy, but such a detail need not concern us here. I wasn't really looking at Tom Ewell.

The comedy is weak and the plot is weak. Tom Ewell's character is certainly weak (in both senses: weak-willed and weakly delineated). Billy Wilder's sharp and witty treatment is there, but - well - weak. Ah, who cares. The situation has all of the tension Wilder thinks it has, and the film still has its charm. This is so even if one is immune to the charms of Marilyn Monroe - which is to say, not a heterosexual male.
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"Ewell" be sorry
rjrozen16 June 2000
This is a movie, like "The Great Dictator" or "Birth of a Nation," that more people _know_ than have _watched_. Everyone is familiar with the scene in which Marilyn Monroe stands over the subway grate, but how many people have actually seen this film? Well, for all those people, the answer is: don't bother. The problem with this film isn't Monroe, who turns in one of her best performances this side of "Some Like it Hot," but rather with Tom Ewell. He is annoying, irritating, and an absolute vacuum at the dead center of this film. Unfortunately, Ewell is on screen about twice as long as Monroe, and he spends most of the time talking to himself, which is just cruel. His is a role that, in the hands of someone like Jack Lemmon, could have been terrific. Ewell, however, supplies an obtrusive, boring narration to a leaden, plodding performance. In the end, I didn't want Ewell's wife to catch him in his tentative indiscretions, I wanted a meteorite to hit him.
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Great Marilyn Doesn't Quite Save Off-Center Screwball Comedy
herbqedi3 January 2003
I've heard about this movie all my life, but actually just watched it for the first time on New Years Day 2003. I must say that I was quite disappointed. Billy WIlder is my all-time favorite director, and he does a great job bringing out MM's best. There are also five or six wildly funny scenes, but the silly, and sometimes ridiculous, Walter-Mitty-esque blurs of reality suffered by Tom Ewell's character throw this comedy completely off-balance. Ewell has the manic energy the plot calls for, and Donald McBride and Robert Strauss give great supporting turns. But Sonny Tufts is awful, and ultimately, even a sparkling gem of a performance by MM is weighed down by too much silliness.
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One iconic image, otherwise Billy Wilder's weakest film
moonspinner5520 May 2006
Director Billy Wilder gets a great, comic book-styled performance out of Marilyn Monroe: she's guilelessly sexy and playful, and has no idea she's enchanting the married man who lives downstairs in her building. Unfortunately, hers are the only moments of inspiration in an otherwise dim-bulb comedy which must rank as Wilder's most disappointing venture. Beginning with the animated credits sequence (where colored boxes open to reveal teeny-tiny print), Wilder's handling is flat, his timing is off, and the central situation--a husband rationalizing having an extra-marital fling--has no heart. As the man whose wife and child are away on vacation, Tom Ewell gives a flaccid performance, overplaying every emotion and generally making this picture unbearable. Ewell fantasizes different scenarios and constantly jabbers to himself, but he's only in the way (and Billy Wilder does everybody a disservice by staging one overlong sequence in Ewell's shower--with Ewell in it!). Worthwhile for Monroe's fans who won't mind slogging through the inept, timeworn gags and groaning dialogue, just to see the platinum blonde's skirt get that famous blast of air over the subway grating. Too bad the rest of "The Seven Year Itch" wasn't as imaginative. *1/2 from ****
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"When something itches, my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch"
ackstasis21 September 2008
After sixteen wonderful pictures, I didn't think that Billy Wilder could do wrong. However, after lulling me into a false sense of security, the director then delivered a right hook to my jaw, leaving me dazed, confused and with a splitting headache. As melodramatic as that sounds, I really did spend last night with a niggling feeling of discomfort in my brain, as though I'd been unexpectedly betrayed by an old friend. 'The Seven Year Itch (1955)' has the best of intentions, and it showcases sex-icon Marilyn Monroe in one of her most alluring roles, but overall it just doesn't work; by the end of the film, I found myself more than a little exasperated. The screenplay was adapted from George Axelrod's popular 1952 three-act play of the same name, which Wilder apparently liked to such that he prophetically included an allusion to it in his 'Sabrina (1954).' Whether or not film censorship played a role in diluting the director's true vision, all I can say is that I am decidedly disappointed.

"A stairway to nowhere! I think that's just elegant." So says The Girl (Marilyn Monroe) when she notices the low-budget fashion in which a former-duplex has been converted into two separate apartments. This is exactly how I feel about this film: it's a stairway to nowhere. The story starts off with definite promise, as a middle-aged husband (Tom Ewell) says farewell to his beloved family for the summer, and must fight the urge to misbehave in their absence ("oh, no, not me!"); that means no drinking, no smoking and no women. Oh, what glorious temptations Wilder could have flung in this man's path! Unfortunately, this is where the story's foundations in theatre come into play. Just as the story promises to get interesting, it stumbles into an inescapable rut, and everything suddenly stagnates, the running time prolonged through frustratingly-pointless monologues and imagined conversations. Ewell's neurotic overreacting, funny at first, becomes grating, and I couldn't wait until he rid himself of that so-called Seven Year Itch.

That there are shafts of light beaming into this dark tunnel is a welcome reassurance to this keen Wilder fan. The casting of Marilyn Monroe is perfect, bringing a sex appeal that was unrivalled by even the finest beauties of her time. Young, lively and naive, The Girl accepts Richard Sherman's awkward advances as just another daily occurrence, frequently mistaking his obvious lust for simple neighbourly kindness. That imaginative money shot above the New York subway is justly iconic, and probably most fully defines Monroe's screen persona, even though Wilder would utilise her to even greater effect in 'Some Like It Hot (1959)' four years later. Despite my general dissatisfaction with the screenplay, there are, nonetheless, a few great lines of dialogue, many delivered by Oskar Homolka as the straight-shooting psychiatrist Dr. Brubaker ("At fifty dollars an hour, all my cases are interesting!"). Remarkably, 'The Seven Year Itch' was a considerable box-office success, something I can't quite understand, considering the failure of some of his most impressive pictures. Sorry, Billy – I guess nobody's perfect, after all.
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A Billy Wilder classic
grantss23 October 2015
A Billy Wilder classic.

It's holiday time. Due to work commitments, a man, Tom Ewell, ends up home alone while his wife and kids go on vacation. Then he meets his beautiful neighbour (played by Marilyn Monroe) and things get complicated...

Clever plot, funny dialogue and two great performances make this a comedic masterpiece. Also a study in fidelity...

Tom Ewell is very funny as Richard Sherman but it is Marilyn Monroe who steals the show. She sizzles as the inadvertent femme fatale, and is the perfect straight foil for Ewell's antics.

Some solid supporting performances too, especially from Robert Strauss as Kruhulik.
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Legendary Marilyn
louise_denby16 September 2006
The seven year itch is an unforgettable legendary masterpiece. It's humorous, witty and extremely sophisticated, also very much delightful. Monroe gives a great Aurora of sex appeal. The amazing and powerful Director 'Billy Wilder' did a great job creating a film so full of life and realness. The innocence, and flirting are very casual and the film is just magical, it's beautiful and has to be seen. It's also a film that has never been copied in that same way, this is because it couldn't be, there's only one seven year itch, and there always will be to me.

The film has a message 'not to be unfaithful' and to resist temptation, and to mainly be yourself. What a great, memorable and powerful name for a film too, it describes it if you think about the film after watching it, it's your own personal perspective which i like. It's not the type of film that everyone can necessarily have the same types of views.

It was adapted from a Broadway play of the same name by George Axelrod, with Tom Ewell. I think it did a lot of good that Tom was educated and aware of the story as he was in the play and that's what made him so brilliant in the film, he was perfect as well and the wonderful and unforgettable Marilyn. The film is remembered for the radiant performance of Monroe, with the two personalities, the little girl and heart and the beautiful and secretly intelligent woman. I didn't like how she was portrayed as again a blonde bombshell, but you know she was fabulous at it and she know what she was doing, she also knew that that wasn't the real her and she wanted other's to know too, accept some didn't take any notice and wanted to know her as that. I also hated that she was know as 'the girl' this is very important and sexist, but it worked.

A voice-over narration introduces the film: this is where we see Richard Sherman (Ewell) send of his wife and young son 'Ricky' for the summer at a crowded train station. In the next scene a number of businessmen follow a shapely female. This is where the story begins. Mr Sherman has a very creative imagination. When he first see's Monroe walking up the stairs to her friends apartment (Ewells) face tells all.

Of course everyone all knows the famous legendary scene even if they haven't seen the film. Monroe in her white dress, which blows up from the vents in the street, and Mr Sherman's line 'Cools the ankles doesn't it', while looking.

The seven year itch is very important in Cinema history and any Monroe or Ewell fan must see it, or someone who loves a great film.
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Funny Monroe but unfunny Ewell...Jack Lemmon would have been better...
Doylenf26 August 2006
Whatever fun and spontaneity THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH has as a movie is due entirely to the lines and situations given to MARILYN MONROE. Only when she is on the screen, does the story go into full spin with double-entendre remarks and visual gags. Monroe is at her peachiest as the girl who's seemingly unaware of the raging hormones going on right under her nose by her neurotic neighbor.

As the neighbor, TOM EWELL is given entirely too much footage and becomes downright obnoxious and annoying with his monologues long before the finale. It's obvious that he lacked the chemistry for the part (a role he originated on stage), and someone like JACK LEMMON would have been a much better choice as the man downstairs.

For Monroe's fans, this is one of her best performances coming at a time when she was doing some great work at The Actor's Studio in NYC.

SONNY TUFTS and EVELYN KEYES have roles that don't amount to much and drift in and out of the story with very little effect. Billy Wilder's direction is hampered by his casting choice of Ewell to repeat his stage role with less than satisfying results.
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A classic American comedy film
palaste28 February 2002
"The 7 Year Itch" is about Richard Sherman, a normal, middle-class American family man who has to live several months alone in his New York apartment while his wife and little son are on vacation. The real story starts when Sherman meets a beautiful young woman who works as an actor in the "Dazzledent" TV commercials.

Despite his vow not to get involved with other women, Sherman starts flirting with the young woman, and starts to feel so guilty about it he wraps himself up in a world of his own imagination. Sooner or later he has trouble separating the truth from his own imagination.

This movie of course received attention because it stars Marilyn Monroe as the beautiful young woman (who remains nameless for the entire duration of the movie), but the story was so well written and acted it could have done without her. There are hints of Franz Kafka's books in the way that Sherman's world becomes a blur of fact and fiction. The scenes of his imagination are well played without overstating the point.

I recommend this movie to everyone. It is an example of how comedy films should be made, and proof that "American comedy" does not have to mean "farting animals" which Hollywood has sadly recently forgot.
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